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Expecting different results while repeating the same failures

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There was one thing in Jon Barton’s letter to the editor today that most of us can agree with. “What we are doing”, he writes, “isn’t working”. Why then do he and his acolytes persist on pursuing the same failed development schemes? This exact topic came up at this week’s chamber luncheon held at The Mill Casino when Wim de Vriend provided a five minute overview of his book The JOB Messiahs to an audience of about sixty local business people.

The meeting, sponsored by the Port of Coos Bay, featured as its main speaker retiring State Senator JoAnn Verger. But Verger’s speech was preceded by a five-minute “Business presentation” talk by de Vriend, the owner of Coos Bay’s Blue Heron restaurant who doubles as a persistent critic of local economic development efforts. The second, updated edition of de Vriend’s hefty tome “The JOB-Messiahs” saw the light of day last spring. Focusing mainly on the dismal, forty-year record of the Port of Coos Bay’s “development” projects, “The JOB-Messiahs” concluded that those efforts have been counterproductive, setting back the area’s economy instead of advancing it.

Using an egg-timer to stay within his allotted five minutes, De Vriend delivered the customary eulogy to his restaurant to the assembled Chamber members, but soon strayed into what seems to be his chief obsession. As small business people, he told the audience of sixty or seventy…

“. . . you may know that running your business is a lot like riding a boat: you rise and fall with the tide, but the tide has been going out on the Coos Bay economy for a long time. During the last thirty years Coos County – except for Bandon – has been the only pocket of decline and depression in thriving, growing Western Oregon. Some of the counties round us have doubled and tripled. But we’ve shrunk, despite the fact that we had about 18 economic development agencies to make us grow. The results remind me of my kids on car-trips, when they were little: “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” And finally: “Why does it take so long?”

Gaining chuckles from the audience, he made the case that not only the methods of the economic development agencies had been wrong, but also their high assessment of Coos Bay’s economic potential, which he described as “absurd”. Their assumption, he claimed, has been that Coos Bay is “the best natural port between San Francisco and Seattle, and the only reason it has not become an industrial center or a World Port is some dark conspiracy by Portland, or the lack of a freeway, or some other boondoggle. Coos Bay is NOT a natural harbor, but even if it were, it’s in the wrong place, and it will never have the connections to be a World Port or an industrial center. Reality does not depend on wild slogans but on geography.”

De Vriend then called for an entirely different development policy for Coos Bay. He described this policy as “Trust the People.” The Port’s obsession with bringing in new smokestacks, he claimed, has discouraged people from settling here: “In Coos Bay, you see, there was always the threat that any day, some obnoxious heavy industry might be built: a pulp mill, a smelter, a steel mill. It never happened, but the threat had its effects.” Instead of subsidizing big corporations and building “boondoggles and white elephants,” Coos Bay should attract “New people who like this place. People with ideas, enterprise, imagination, and some money. People who seize an opportunity, just like the old days, before we had all these economic developers running around.”

According to De Vriend, the people who could have improved Coos Bay’s economy went to other places on the coast instead, such as Florence and Bandon. “As a result, our real estate values are 25% lower than in those towns, and I see abandoned homes all over my own neighborhood. . . . we need to set a different course.”

Next, JoAnn Verger’s service as a Coos Bay councilwoman, mayor and legislator caused her to be introduced as “an amazing woman.” When she gained the microphone she launched into a description of the hazards of political power in Salem, that was vivid as well as memorable. Warning that excessive power tends to intoxicate people, she cautioned her fellow Democrats that there could be a severe downside to their present control of both houses of the Oregon Legislature along with the Governor’s office. “You do what you do because you can . . . (but) “arrogance is always unbecoming”, she warned, and “success is always temporary.” “Drunk with ambition,” she added, “people may need to be awakened.” This warning she described as “My shot across the bow of the next Legislature.”

After mentioning impending legislative efforts to control guns, an issue on which she was noncommittal, Verger blamed the failure of Coos Bay’s past efforts to attract new industries on “special interests,” clearly her own description of environmentalists. She did recommend that those in favor of industrial development sit down with those “special interests for a meeting of the mind. . . Have we tried before? Yes, but we need to try again.” Claiming that the special interests had “scared off investors, so they went elsewhere,” she admitted: “These are not bad people. But they don’t understand our community. Some haven’t even been here.”

When I asked de Vriend why he had not taken the opportunity to ask Senator Verger a question after her speech (no one else had, either), he said that he respected her and didn’t want to incite an argument at what had been a pleasant meeting. His own objective, he said, had been “to put the bug in some people’s ear.” But he was critical of Verger’s assessment of environmentalists as people who don’t understand the community. “There are extremists on both sides,” he granted, “but most so-called environmentalists merely want to be left alone by the industrial promoters, who tell a lot of lies, waste a lot of money and never achieve anything anyway. But where I really differ with JoAnn is her claim that people opposed to those hare-brained schemes don’t understand this community. They understand it much better than promoters like JoAnn do. The main reason why all the efforts of the economic development bunch have been for naught is their completely unrealistic idea of Coos Bay’s economic potential,” and he added: “JoAnn’s description of the intoxicating effects of power at the state level are right on. But she’d be wise to apply that insight to the local development lobby, which has very serious problems with sharing power. The Port of Coos Bay made itself unanswerable to the voters 27 years ago, and they did it through blatant election fraud. FONSI’s board meetings are closed to the public, and the same is true of SCDC, even though it exists mostly on government money. And directly or indirectly these outfits control several other development outfits like enterprise zones and urban renewal. You call that democratic?”

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About magix

Profile photo of magix When my oldest son, a Marine, left for war and crossed the border from Kuwait into Iraq in March 2003 I started writing my conscience. After two tours that young combat veteran’s mother is now an ardent peace activist and advocate for social, environmental and economic justice. MGx has matured since those early vents and ramblings and now covers relevant and important local and regional matters in addition to national and global affairs.

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40 Responses to "Expecting different results while repeating the same failures"

  1. susanp  January 11, 2013 at 8:29 AM

    Don’t expect Barton to change. According to his former colleagues at Cooper, then known as Aero, now a part of 3M, he’s the same SLOB of 40 years ago; Sweet Loveable Ol Barton.

    It would be nice if one of the many local economic development groups, including some high paid non productive city employees labeled economic development, included at least one person who has a verifiable track record of accomplishment as a jobs producer; and there are several with credentials retired in our community. But, for those who speak the loudest and say nothing this would be the worst case scenario for their closely held organization.

    Reply
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    TonyCapo  January 11, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    That’s harsh M. There has been success in our area developing development agencies. :-)

    They revel the logical path too. Let’s stop pouring tax money into development agencies. What they preach is a faith and the basket is always out for filling. They are blinded by their faith, to them it sounds good so it must be true, facts be damned. Their “sciolism” is built on non sequiturs. It’s time to cut them off. It’s time to eliminate special taxing districts.

    Reply
  3. al  January 11, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Here’s a suggestion for getting our local economy off the ground: get out of your folding chair, out from behind your PC, get your windmill off the drawing board, get some sales, hire a couple of hundred people, pay them a living wage with benefits – and do it without government assistance. These are the things that you expect others in the community to deliver – so back your own expectations with some personal action. Don’t just blather on about green energy. Show the world – for once – that it’s viable and that green jobs can be created without the crutch of taxpayer subsidies. Now THAT would be impressive.

    Reply
    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-50 alignnone photo of magix
      magix  January 11, 2013 at 10:50 AM

      Back atcha, al. Use your exhaustive experience as a CEO to produce hundreds of jobs in Coos County and do it without subsidies like urban renewal funds or enterprise zone property tax exemptions.

      Others might interested in how much taxpayer money is given to the dirty and finite fossil fuel industry so loved by al and pals. http://priceofoil.org/fossil-fuel-subsidies/

      Reply
    • Pig Nuts  January 11, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      “Do it without government assistance? These are the things that you expect others in the community to deliver –?”

      Al… You insinuate that others in the community ARE benefiting from government assistance.

      I have no need to be critical of them if they are.

      I just want to know who I need to blow & how they like it in order to get mine!

      Any advice would be much appreciated…

      Reply
    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-50 alignnone photo of aghast!
      aghast!  January 11, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      You should ask Barton, not Mary, to show some results without government aid, after all he claims to be in the business of establishing businesses.

      Reply
  4. The Reminder  January 11, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    I don’t know anything about Mary’s turbine but I do know that there are wind turbines being used that could be placed all along the spit that could create more power than we need. Get all the tax dollars that are used by these development groups and consolidate that funding towards that single goal. I believe the populace that is against LNG and coal exports would get behind such a project. We wouldn’t be at each others throats and we could be a model for the whole state to be proud of.
    A large project like that needs investors. I would be happy to see my property tax dollars being spent in such a way. Lets do what we know works and quit wasting these development funds on bad ideas.

    Reply
    • MarkM  January 11, 2013 at 12:20 PM

      Good idea.

      Put it on the ballot.

      Reply
  5. al  January 11, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    “all the energy we need?” That’s a tall claim, Reminder, considering it would take all the windmills in America just to supply the total energy requirements of San Francisco. By the way – if you do your homework you’ll find that the biggest windmill farms in America are being subsidized by…..natural gas. That’s right: when the wind dies the feds fudge the kw numbers by driving the generators with natural gas.

    Reply
    • The Reminder  January 11, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      I could have elaborated more and clarified that statement was intended for the towns of NB/CB, and that the excess could be transmitted to our neighbors up and down the coast and points inland. I never intended for that statement to include the whole U.S., that was your assumption. If natural gas is needed to supplement the turbines when there is no wind, then that’s fine, at least we will be the ones using the gas, not exporting it for a corporate profit. We have the tax payer paid pipe in place for that purpose if its needed. That plan would still be a whole lot safer for the area than two 40 million gallon tanks across from the airport.
      The jobs that could be created for engineers through construction workers would be similar in scale to the ones created by that LNG exportation project. I know I have simplified the idea, but I’m a simple kind of guy. I’m only suggesting that your group could find support from the same people who have been opposing LNG.

      Reply
  6. al  January 11, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    Good response, Mary. I’ll take that as a white flag of surrender.

    Reply
    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-50 alignnone photo of magix
      magix  January 11, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      Back atcha, yet again

      Reply
  7. MarkM  January 11, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    Coos Bay should attract “New people who like this place. People with ideas, enterprise, imagination, and some money. People who seize an opportunity, just like the old days, before we had all these economic developers running around.
    –de Vriend

    This is extremely naive and historically inaccurate. What are these enterprising, imaginative, rich opportunists waiting for? An invitation? Can they not take advantage of the enterprise zones already in place?

    Furthermore, when this kind of activity was happening in Coos County’s past it was always happening on the shoulders of a larger economic driver — primarily logging, fishing, or mining.

    As a restauranteur, I’m sure Wim covets a restaurant-based, vacation economy. Unfortunately, Coos County is not Key West and it never has been.

    Reply
    • Wim de Vriend
      Wim de Vriend  January 12, 2013 at 12:29 AM

      It’s a challenge to answer someone like MarkM who manufactures his own reality, and uses vapid put-downs to conceal it. Like “This is extremely naive and historically inaccurate.” Not true. In the past, important industries were founded in this area by exactly such people, decades before economic development agencies OR enterprise zones were invented. They spotted an opportunity and didn’t need all those gimmicks. I’m talking about entrepreneurs who started lumber mills, trucking outfits, shipping docks.

      Unfortunately their children and grandchildren do not seem to have the same entrepreneurial spirit; they believe in government solutions for our economy, which is why they have been big promoters of the Port, SCDC etc., and they are scared stiff to admit that those outfits have been worse than useless.

      You wonder why the new residents I advocate attracting to Coos Bay can’t just “. . . take advantage of the enterprise zones already in place?” Because enterprise zones are mostly irrelevant in locating businesses. There is scholarly evidence to that effect, and if you had paid any attention to local events, you would know that both the Bandon Dunes development and ORC proved it. To use the mere existence of the enterprise zones as proof that my thesis about attracting people is invalid is either ignorant or dishonest.

      It is a fact that a number of people have settled in places like Florence and Bandon because they liked living there better than in Coos Bay. Such people added to those towns’ wealth, either by bringing it (as retirees) or by starting businesses that today are flourishing. And my point, at the Chamber meeting as in my book, was that Coos Bay’s obsession with smokestacks has discouraged people of that quality from settling here. We have some, true, but we could have had a lot more. And their contributions to our economy would have been more sustainable than the smokestacks the Port and its allies have been chasing for so long – even if those had materialized.

      Bringing up the rear is your catty remark: “As a restauranteur, I’m sure Wim covets a restaurant-based, vacation economy. Unfortunately, Coos County is not Key West and it never has been.” Actually, I suspect my knowledge of geography as well as spelling exceeds yours; you really should learn how to write “restaurateur.” More importantly, you have the primitive belief that the economy is static, not dynamic. It’s the other way, if only we let it. I’ve heard these stupid slogans about “You can’t make a living waiting tables!” for forty years. A first step in attracting quality people to this town is to make it ATTRACTIVE, so they will stop here and see more of the area. Once they do that, a certain percentage will decide to settle here, and THAT will boost Coos Bay’s fortunes. We don’t know all the ways in which that will occur, and that bothers some people, but if the record of economic development proves anything, it is that we can’t control the economy anyway. We already have scenic assets as good as, or better than, those in Florence or Bandon. But we have scared people off, not only by the perennial threats of siting obnoxious industries close to town, but by deliberately making it ugly. In particular, nobody driving through Coos Bay can miss our pathetically derelict waterfront. There’s no chance of it being re-developed because of the Port’s obsession with a railroad that sucks money and has no economic justification. So in this way too, we’ve discouraged new settlers.

      Reply
      • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-50 alignnone photo of aghast!
        aghast!  January 12, 2013 at 5:49 AM

        What, Mark, catty?!?!?! Surely you jest

        Reply
  8. MarkM  January 11, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Mary and Al both make good points.

    Mary is correct that fossil fuels are highly subsidized. But those subsidies predominate in the US which makes our oil and gas very cheap compared to the rest of the world. Other countries, like those in Europe, do not subsidize petroleum as heavily as the US does, but their economies still rely on those sources for energy. It’s just more expensive. Fossil fuels are cheap, efficient, and effective. They are not going away any time soon, especially on the global scale.

    Al is correct about wind. It the best green energy going — high output, low footprint. I buy it myself through Blue Skies Oregon. But unlike fossil fuels, it cannot turn a profit yet without government subsidies. However, if you want to see Coos County exploit the wind business, you would support the LNG project and the off shore wind project it supports.

    Reply
    • The Reminder  January 11, 2013 at 1:16 PM

      That last statement was a load of crap that only you believe. Your advocating holding wind power hostage to exporting LNG. That’s greed talking. We have been getting by without LNG and will continue to do so. No-one wants our area to become stagnate, but that’s whats happening here. Wim is right about people choosing another place to live because of these goals your group is supporting. Move on to something we can all support and that will change. Until then we can only expect more of the same old divisive attitudes on both sides of the issue.
      These goals of coal and LNG exporting will only help a small amount of the areas people and make the others want to move away. A wind farm on the spit doesn’t need LNG before it can happen. It only needs the will of its local leaders to inspire the rest. Unfortunately those people best suited to make it happen are stuck in the past, mostly from greed and promises of wealth for the few who are pushing for LNG. The opposition to LNG will not change because of your single minded path for the area, but your group will keep the area stagnant until those old ideas go away. Greed has been handicapping smart for a long time around here. I suppose that’s not likely to change anytime soon, not until some of the supporters die off or wise up.

      Reply
  9. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-50 alignnone photo of magix
    magix  January 11, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    From Oregon’s first lady Cylvia Hayes, a clean energy economy that is working http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cylvia-hayes/an-economy-thats-working_b_2441930.html

    Reply
    • MarkM  January 11, 2013 at 3:20 PM

      I don’t disagree with the First Lady about the value of any of these projects. We should be doing them all and more. But don’t kid yourselves, without government subsidies they don’t pencil out. Take wind for example. Had not the Congress extended the wind subsidy at the last second, the entire sector would be shut down.

      http://portlandtribune.com/sl/124897-wind-tax-break-up-in-the-air–energy-tax-credits-blown-by-an-ill-wind

      I toured some wind farms in Washington last summer. One of the managers, politically conservative, was keenly aware of this point. He was adamant that we needed to extend those subsidies. That’s why, he argued, we needed to vote for Mitt Romney.

      Well, not exactly.

      Anyway, if there are entrepreneurs who want to invest in wind farms on the north spit, I’ve never heard of them. What are they waiting for?

      Reply
  10. The Reminder  January 11, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Ouch, that’s gotta hurt the pro-LNG boys. The wife of the man who keeps these port officials in place is talking the talk. Now’s the time for her hubby to replace those at the port who are still advocating a fossil fuel driven economy for our area. The hippocrasy in that family is astounding. The salem/portland area is oblivious to what he is having these port boys do down here. Now I know why he wears cowboy boots, he needs them to walk through the crap he allows in our part of the state. Until he replaces these port commissioners with forward thinking people we will know that he is only talking to those Oregonians up north. I was working on a local job where his chief of staff toured and we were all told to stay clear and not speak to his little group that was touring with him. Our handlers were afraid his guy might hear something negative from the laborers and they couldn’t have that. That’s how insulated they keep themselves.

    Reply
  11. al  January 11, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Good point on subsidies, Mark. It should be noted that the Dept. of the Treasury and Joint Committee on Taxation reports that Oil and Gas jobs are subsidized by the U.S. taxpayer on the average of $1,959 per job. Coal: $1,739. Solar: $18,333 and Wind a whopping $46,667 PER JOB. That’s 25 times the cost of a oil, gas or coal subsidized job. The so-called “section 1603″ renewable energy grants, (part of the 2009 fiscal stimulus package) will cost taxpayers $5.8 billion this year. The government website that tracks stimulus spending lists 27,226 individual awards under the “Energy/Environment” section, totaling just shy of $34 billion. Considering that America’s collective wind turbine deployment wouldn’t serve the needs of Los Angeles, those recipients and the industry should have more to show for the taxpayer’s investment.

    Reply
    • MarkM  January 11, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      While those figures are accurate, keep this in mind. The investments we make in solar and wind are front-loaded. All of the cost is wrapped up in construction (high) and maintenance (relatively low). The fuel (sun and wind) is free. That is not the case with fossil fuels. Those cost/job figures will also decline appreciably as these new technologies improve efficiencies and realize economies of scale. These are the energies of the future and we need to lead in their development. China, India, and the rest of the developing world are not waiting for us.

      While wind, solar, and other renewable technologies are not economically viable today, they will be economic drivers in the future. We cannot expect them to be economic saviors for Coos County today, but we should look for ways to develop them here however possible.

      The Jordan Cove project gives us that opportunity.

      Reply
  12. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-50 alignnone photo of magix
    magix  January 11, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Mark, Al and I finally agree on something. There is no reason to continue the $1 Trillion in annual fossil fuel subsidies!

    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/18/business/fossil-fuel-subsidies/index.html

    Reply
    • MarkM  January 11, 2013 at 4:02 PM

      I have long supported ending these subsidies. The Pres supports it; perhaps we’ll see it come up in the budget negotiations. Just remember who it is who always votes no.

      Also, I’d submit that you were blogging about a rural county in West Virginia you’d probably see these subsidies somewhat differently. In that case, we can’t just take them away without replacing them with something viable.

      Reply
    • MarkM  January 11, 2013 at 4:32 PM

      Keep in mind, Mary, that if we eliminate ff subsidies, gasoline and heating oil prices will go up. Many folks won’t like that.

      I think that’s not a bad thing though because it creates more market space for renewables. It’s a long term win.

      Reply
  13. The Reminder  January 11, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    Yes the wind sector is getting subsidies about 12 times greater than the amount of tax preferences provided to the oil and gas sector. But there is more at stake than that.

    From http://thebreakthrough.org/blog/Beyond_Boom_and_Bust.pdf

    . As long as clean energy sectors remain dependent on public support, they will be continually imperiled by the threat of policy collapse. Continued innovation and cost reduction is thus the only real route beyond today’s policy-induced cycle of boom and bust. Yet the immediate cessation of clean tech subsidies is also not in the national interest. Clean energy sectors are still emerging and maturing and must compete against well-entrenched fossil energy sources with over a century of incremental improvements, federal subsidization, and established infrastructure and regulatory environments behind them. Supporting the development of a new portfolio of cost-competitive, scalable clean energy technologies offers substantial opportunities for enhanced American energy security, economic growth, new technology exports, and improved public health, but will take time.

    Its not as one sided as you would have people believe. The subsidy numbers can indeed scare people away from renewable energy. But the public must look at the bigger picture and look at how fossil fuels are dwindling and how renewables are on the rise. Since this area has neither infrastructure at this time and if one must be chosen, then the answer should be decided by our science community, not oil co. execs, their shills and paid-for politicians.
    Maybe whats really best for this area is just to wait a few years and see how these things shake out concerning costs per btu.

    Reply
    • MarkM  January 11, 2013 at 5:40 PM

      I agree with the piece.

      Renewables are definitely on the rise, but they are so far behind fossil fuels in gross production that they could double over the next few years and still not compete.

      Furthermore, fossil fuels are not dwindling. We have an inordinate supply of them. That is precisely the problem. We’ve been swimming coal for years and now we’re swimming in natural gas. But these are precisely the kinds of fuels the climate does not need. We can’t solve this problem by decree whether by well informed scientists or well intentioned politicians. Only a market solution will stick. Remember GLOBAL climate change is a GLOBAL problem. If China and India don’t play along with us, it doesn’t matter what we do.

      I firmly believe that exporting LNG and low sulfur coal is part of the solution, not part of the problem. Turns out, Coos Bay benefits greatly by doing so. It’s a win for us and a win for the planet. That’s why I favor it.

      Reply
  14. MarkM  January 11, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    Today’s news: natural gas is here to stay; coal is on its way out.

    http://www.npr.org/2013/01/11/169153322/coal-loses-crown-as-king-of-power-generation

    Reply
    • The Reminder  January 11, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      That’s a good link to share Mark. Everyone interested in these things should read it. The last few paragraphs are important to all of us.

      Reply
      • MarkM  January 11, 2013 at 5:05 PM

        Good point. I would call that a textbook definition of a “bridge fuel.” We can’t expect to skip a step and depend on renewables before they are ready to sustain us. Natural gas and coal have a role in getting us to where we want to be.

        Truth is, so does nuclear, but that’s not part of our local discussion.

        Reply
  15. al  January 11, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    There’s enough natural gas in this country alone to last us over ninety years. Perhaps by then the private sector will figure out how to make solar and wind affordable.

    Reply
    • MarkM  January 11, 2013 at 5:14 PM

      We have a BINGO.

      But we can’t accomplish that without subsidizing today the energies of tomorrow. The goal should be to make renewables so cheap and efficient that every country will choose them over fossil fuels. We can hope to achieve this by mid-century or so. Before then, we will need to try to meet our competing needs of producing enough energy and reducing our carbon footprint. It’s tough to accomplish that without an increased role for nuclear power. Jeffery Sachs is eloquent on this point.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/may/03/nuclear-power-solution-climate-change

      Reply
  16. al  January 11, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    I’m OK with ending ALL energy subsidies as long as the federal government gives that money back to the taxpayers so they can pay higher costs to heat their homes and fill their autos.

    Reply
  17. MarkM  January 11, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    This story gives some insight into why if you’re concerned about curbing global climate change, a coal export terminal in Coos Bay is something to consider.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/nov/20/coal-plants-world-resources-institute

    Key points:

    These plants in China, India, and South Korea are being built now. They will consumer coal from either Australia (dirty), Indonesia (dirty), or the Wyoming Powder Basin (clean-er). It’s better for us economically and environmentally, as well as better for the planet, if it’s the latter that gets burned.

    We can say NO, but we do not do so in a vacuum.

    Reply
  18. The Reminder  January 11, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    Just when it looks like your finally getting it, you turn south once again.

    1. The fracking industry is poised to develop worldwide, they won’t need to get it from us.
    2. The U.S. should become energy independent before we start exporting any source of fuel.
    3. Coal will be rejected worldwide before you get the people in this state to agree with you to send it through Oregon to China.
    4. New sources of energy are on the horizon.
    5. The regular Joes in this country don’t like the idea of foreign corporations profiting on our energy sources, especially when it will most likely cause our domestic prices to rise.
    6. The risk to this community is not worth the gain for corporate greed.

    Your hopelessly lost once again.

    Reply
    • MarkM  January 11, 2013 at 6:29 PM

      TR, let’s meet for coffee sometime. Send me an email

      markmckelveyshow@gmail.com

      1. True. This development is decades away though. It is why we should embrace the IEA’s Golden Rules of Natural Gas. We could do this in Coos County easily and quickly.
      2. Hard to figure out how without redoubled effort with fossil fuels.
      3. Very doubtful since the coal fired plants are already being built. How do you tell people in India/China to turn off their lights to save the planet when you won’t turn off yours?
      4. Absolutely. How far off is that horizon? Twenty years? Forty years? More? What do we do until then?
      5. The Serenity Prayer applies here. I reiterate: higher prices for fossil fuels are not a bad thing. No doubt they will be painful for many though. Can we mitigate that?
      6. Risk/Benefit is an excellent calculation to figure. I think it works out in our favor.

      Maybe I am hopelessly lost, but I am sincerely trying to work through the complexity of this issue in a way that makes sense for us here in Coos County as well as for those on Planet Earth. I’m open to other ideas, but I expect them to address that same complexity.

      I look forward to hearing from you.

      Reply
    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-50 alignnone photo of Tony
      TonyCapo  January 11, 2013 at 7:43 PM

      Wow, lot’s of wall bouncing since this morning.

      Quite correct The Reminder. I’m surprised no one mentioned the costs of war too. Anyway, I see signs of minds wanting to fully jell. Personally, I’d be happy to see some kind of initiative to get our area into the 21st century.

      A couple of oldies but goodies IMHO:

      http://www.architecture2030.org

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-Prime

      Reply
  19. The Reminder  January 11, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    I know China is digging more coal than ever and they plan to import even more in 2013. They are also planning on increasing their use of natural gas. There’s not much info on their long term plans past 2015. Since China now leads the world in high speed rail and they plan on building even more, I’m hopeful this large need for electrons will put them on the fast track to finding a new source of power. They don’t want to breath dirty air any more than we do. They are moving very fast with their renewable programs as well. The solution they get to will be exported the same as their solar cell industry is doing. I expect them to export their high speed rail systems before we even get one here. They will probably make our energy exporting business obsolete before we can even build the infrastructures to do it.
    I thoroughly oppose any plans to export LNG from shore. The LNG people are just here to take advantage of our port because of the small population in this area. Try doing it in Portland and see what happens. I don’t believe it will ever happen here but it is still frustrating to see such wasted efforts all these years. When your side tried to import LNG it was hard to watch land owners being put at risk for eminent domain seizures, but its even worse to see it done for exporting for profit purposes. You and I have heard all the arguments for and against and it appears to be now and always a stalemate. Your political future will always be scarred with your position now and forever. To meet would accomplish nothing.

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  20. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-50 alignnone photo of Ron Sadler
    Ron Sadler  January 12, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Wim’s take on our current economic situation and how we got here, together with Mgx’s comments, are essentially correct.

    Fifty years ago, driving down Highway 101 through North Bend and Coos Bay was essentially a trip through a gigantic sawmill complete with a constant downpour of soot and sawdust (anybody remember Mill B donuts?). The natural amenities of our area were virtually invisible. The demise of the timber industry should have been a clear signal that the time had come to face economic and geographic reality so as to chart a viable course for the development of our area into the future.

    But old habits are tough to break.

    In 1928, the Coos Bay Times published a “Golden Jubilee Annual Supplement” which described the wishful thinking in place at that time. It stated, among other things, that:
    – “long in the eddy, Coos Bay is on the threshold of undreamed-of development”.
    – “Coos Bay provides the shortest route by water to China and Japan”.
    – “Coos Bay will become the terminus of a transcontinental railroad”.
    – “Coos Bay has an inexhaustible supply of coal”.

    This type of mindset is still operational today as we continue to seek that magic smokestack that will rain down prosperity forever and/or develop our port facilities to play a major role on the west coast.

    Wim is right when he points out this orientation has the effect of making our area less attractive to alternative developmental ideas that may be a better fit for our long-term social, economic, and environmental health.

    Mary is correct in pointing out we continue to expect different results while acting on the same faulty premises that have been in place for the last 85 years.

    Time to take a deep breath, step back, and get real.

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